The ketogenic diet is a powerful new tool to hit the mainstream recently. This style of eating has substantial data behind it showing that it can boost fat-burning, reduce inflammation, boost cognitive performance, and more. What has not been covered quite enough are common keto side effects and how you can avoid them to make the best of this powerful eating style.

Researchers note that subjects taking between 40 to 90 units of insulin before the study were able to completely eliminate their insulin use while also improving blood sugar control! They also point out that this effect happens “immediately upon implementing the dietary changes” so people with type 2 diabetes need to monitor their blood sugar closely and likely adjust their medication dosages/needs with the help of their doctors.
Proponents of the keto diet say that when and followed precisely, it does not “starve” the body.  “A well-formulated keto diet includes all the food groups and therefore provides adequate intake of micronutrients,” says Dr. Goss. “There is ample scientific evidence from randomized clinical trials supporting the therapeutic effects of the diet in treating a number of chronic disease conditions besides epilepsy, including type 2 diabetes [node/59538], non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, even obesity.”
Bingo!! It’s all about the $. The info graphic at the very beginning is labeled Keto-Paleo. And is misleading. Contrary to popular belief the Paleo diet is plant based. It restricts carbohydrate and dairy consumption based on foods that cause an inflammatory response in the body. Keto restricts foods that cause a blood sugar spike two very different purposes. American nutrition is very obviously broken and any recommendation tied to a money making association should be taken with a grain of salt because you can bet there are $$ strings attached. Usually big Pharma funding.
Thank you for this comment. It is truth! I keep telling people about this diet. It is literally the best diet I have ever been on. I can eat good food, I feel full, my weight is dropping, I feel better and I can actually feel the difference. While it is great for a professional to be skeptical of emerging diet trends (and lets face it, most diet trends are garbage peddled by snake oil salesmen), this one actually has science from some prestigious institutions behind it, not a marketing scheme.

You’ve lost weight. By far the most common cause of unexplained hair loss is simply rapid weight loss or dietary change. This disrupts the normal growth and decline cycle of your hair follicles, shunting a greater proportion of them into the “rest” phase to be pushed out by incoming hairs. Even though you may see extra hair in the shower or on the brush, your actual hair thickness shouldn’t change much.
"Those with type 1 diabetes should avoid a ketogenic diet," warns Joseph Galati, MD, a hepatologist at the Liver Specialists of Texas in Houston, "Many patients with type 1 diabetes have some degree of renal impairment, and handling the build-up of ketones and acids in the body may cause too much stress on the kidneys. Of course, any pregnant women with diabetes, especially those requiring insulin should avoid such an extreme diet given the low glucose levels will be a constant [health] threat."

A second counterintuitive approach to healing the gut for children who are having a hard time gaining is to encourage a nice long ‘fast’ over night.  When the gut is less full, and the body can digest the food that’s in there completely and then it can repair an inflamed or leaky gut better.   If the gut is inflamed, food may be passing right through without being absorbed.  In addition, growth hormone raises during periods of fasting.


Resistant starches can be included as part of a ketogenic diet or as a supplement because it has minimal effects on blood sugar, so it doesn’t disrupt the state of ketosis. Resistant starches not only feed good bacteria in the gut but can also get fermented into substances that are beneficial for health. (Read this post to learn more about the health benefits of resistant starches and how to use them.)
Following a ketogenic diet puts your body into a state of “ketosis,” which is a metabolic state that occurs when most of the body’s energy comes from ketone bodies in the blood, rather than from glucose from carbohydrate foods (like grains, all sources of sugar or fruit, for example). This is in contrast to a glycolytic state, where blood glucose (sugar) provides most of the body’s fuel (or energy).
The same goes for people with type 2 diabetes. While some preliminary research suggests the keto diet may be safe and effective for certain people with type 2 diabetes, there’s still the risk for low blood sugar, especially for those on insulin, and the keto diet omits certain food groups known to benefit those with this disease. For example, a study published in September 2016 in the journal Nutrients highlights the importance of whole grains for helping to control weight as well as episodes of high blood sugar. Whole grains are off-limits on the ketogenic diet.
Thank you for posting Julie Martin. Abbey, have you ever been forced to loose a significant amount of weight? It is unfair to minimize the challenges that come along with consistent weight loss over a long period of time. Please provide information about any diet that has high success statistics when it comes to significant weight loss. Julie I plan to join your Facebook group and would absolutely love to have someone with your positive outlook to support my weight loss challenges.
You work out for a few months and get in shape and fall back to the old habits because you were not conditioned mentally, only physically. Physical fitness is only a part of journey, fitness is over 75% percent mental. Gyms, nutritionists, and personal trainers give most people a temporary Band-Aid but never address the actual issue. The 3-Week Ketogenic Diet includes secret mindset strategies to make your journey so much easier.
As ketosis begins, your body will start dumping its stores of glycogen, a substance in your fat and muscles that carries excess weight. This will increase how often you urinate and can lead to an inevitable loss of electrolytes, Dr. Rahnama says. Electrolytes are essential to cardiac function and normal heart beating. “The loss of electrolytes, such as sodium, magnesium, and potassium will put the dieter at risk of a cardiac arrhythmia,” Dr. Rahnama adds.
A recent pilot study put five patients on the ketogenic diet (less than 20 grams per day of carbohydrate). At the end of six months, the average weight loss was 28 pounds (but this wasn’t the most surprising finding). Each patient underwent a liver biopsy, and four of the five patients had a reduction in liver fat, inflammation, and fibrosis. However, this is a small pilot study that also used supplements, so the results are not conclusive. What does the rest of the research say?
Make sure you consult with your doctor and track relevant biomarkers before you start the ketogenic diet. This is a big adjustment for your body and your life, so do not take it lightly. If you follow our beginner’s guide, join the Ruled.me community, and have check-ups with your doctor, then you will be able to get all the benefits of the ketogenic diet and take your health back.
Author’s note: I want to stress again the importance of consulting with your doctor before you try ketogenic dieting. The more I study this area of science, the more I realize that every individual is extremely unique when it comes to health issues and there are a ton of reasons why you should NOT go full-on keto (especially if you are prone to kidney, heart, or gallbladder issues). That being said, for many people this form of eating is life changing, and the amount of scientific research supporting a ketogenic lifestyle is significantly increasing. Subscribe to my newsletter to stay posted when I publish new articles, and I’d appreciate any and all feedback/corrections on the content I’ve written above. Thanks! (Image credit)
The keto diet is also extremely low in certain fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes that are generally thought of as healthy. Without these foods, people on the diet can miss out on fiber, certain vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that only come in these foods. That has significant human health impacts over the long term such as bone loss and increased risk of chronic diseases.
Losing essential micronutrients is another concern raised by keto diet skeptics. People say eating a diet based on fat and protein from animal sources means losing those micronutrients found in higher-carb grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Some also claim low-carb diets contain too little fiber, and thus may cause long-term constipation. That’s inaccurate.
If you can’t maintain any eating plan forever due to its level of restriction and burden, it can lead to weight cycling — the process by which you gain a lot of weight and lose a lot of weight when "dieting" versus when you’re off of a diet. That can lead to increased chronic disease risk, not to mention how it can make weight loss more difficult the more often you do it.
Once the medical community acknowledged the keto diet’s effectiveness in reducing seizure episodes, they decided to look further and study its impact on neurological diseases in general. Neurological diseases share a common problem – a deficiency in energy production. Ketones provide that energy for normal brain cell metabolism, and may even be a more efficient   when the body is in starvation mode. When patients were put on the keto diet, the number of mitochondria (energy powerhouse) in brain cells increased. Ketones may also act as an antioxidant by inhibiting the formation of reactive oxidant species, which is why they may have promising effects in the treatment of certain cancers in conjunction with chemotherapy.
It sounds as if you may have been following a very strict keto protocol. I’m not, and have not followed a ketogenic diet, but am interested in it. I’ve been reading up on it a bit on the blog called Mark’s Daily Apple.* I’ve been following it for several years now, even before Mark tried keto. Based on some of his blog post, both keto related and otherwise, it seems that women do better with slightly more carbs than men. He’s written several blog post specifically for women, including one called 7 Keto Tips for Women, which you may want to read. https://www.marksdailyapple.com/7-keto-tips-for-women/ Then there is this one Where I Part Ways with the Popular Keto Movement https://www.marksdailyapple.com/where-i-part-ways-with-the-popular-keto-movement/ Perhaps the problem wasn’t the keto diet in and of itself, but that you went too low carb for you. It’s worth considering. I’ve also found this site to be pretty interesting https://peterattiamd.com/ Here’s a link to his section on keto https://peterattiamd.com/category/ketosis/ He followed a ketogenic diet for a number of years, though as of 2016 was no longer ketogenic, but definitely eating lower carb than most. (That is under Articles, on the drop down menu, click on Personal.)
The keto diet also calls for an increased amount of fat intake. The diet suggests by cutting carb and increasing fat, the body will begin to burn the fat. However, when the body begins to burn fat, it also begins to burn the muscle tissue as well. For those participating in the diet who have a risk of heart disease or stoke, the fat increase could be put their lives at risk.
From baseline to week 16, the mean body weight decreased significantly from 131.4 ± 18.3 kg to 122.7 ± 18.9 kg, BMI decreased from 42.2 ± 5.8 kg/m2 to 39.4 ± 6.0 kg/m2, and waist circumference from 130.0 ± 10.5 cm to 123.3 ± 11.3 cm (Table ​(Table3).3). The percent change in body weight was -6.6%. The mean percent body fat decreased from 40.4 ± 5.8% to 37.0 ± 6.0%. Systolic and diastolic blood pressures did not change significantly over the 16 weeks. The mean heart rate decreased from 81.2 ± 12.9 beats per minute to 74.6 ± 14.0 beats per minute (p = 0.01).
This whole post must have taken so much effort and I think it’s incredible that you do this. The issue with these diets is that people hear about it, think it sounds good and do it. No questions! We are so lucky to have dietitians like you actually laying out all the research, the good, the bad, and everything in between about these diets, so THANK YOU!
There are numerous benefits that come with being on keto: from weight loss and increased energy levels to therapeutic medical applications. Most anyone can safely benefit from eating a low-carb, high-fat diet. Below, you’ll find a short list of the benefits you can receive from a ketogenic diet. For a more comprehensive list, you can also read our in-depth article here >
She has found that when women stick to eating a lighter dinner, and then abstain from eating for about 13–15 hours between dinner and breakfast, they experience improvements in their weight, blood sugar control, etc. She recommends that women try avoiding eating after 8 p.m. or experiment with eating only two meals per day, with tea or broth between meals to help curb hunger. Another option is to try skipping dinner altogether on 1–2 days per week. For most women, when attempting IMF, it’s not recommended to snack between meals unless the woman is very active (such as an athlete in training) or dealing with a hormonal issue such as adrenal burnout.

Earlier this year Seattle family doctor Dr. Ted Naiman, who has been helping patients with low-carb or ketogenic diets for 20 years, described how his own obsessive compulsive disorder was resolved almost instantly — never returning — on a low-carb high-fat diet. Naiman over the years has seen dramatic mental health improvements in his patients who adopt low carb ketogenic diet. “Definitely bipolar, depression, anxiety, OCD, are all much, much better on a low-carb diet,” he says.


There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 2 is by far more common, accounting for 90 percent of all diabetes cases worldwide. In this type, the body does not make or does not use insulin well. It can happen to anyone but is more common in people over the age of 40, those who are overweight and inactive, those with a family history of diabetes and patients whose diets consist mainly of refined carbohydrates.
At any given intensity, a keto-adapted athlete burns more fat and less glycogen than a sugar-burning athlete. Long-term elite keto athletes can burn up to 2.3 times more fat at peak oxidation and 59% more fat overall than non-keto athletes, and they do it at higher intensities. They remain in the predominantly fat-burning zone at 70% of VO2max, whereas non-keto athletes switch over from predominantly fat burning to a spike in sugar-burning at 54.9% VO2max.
"Most of the work in this field is still pre-clinical, meaning it's been conducted in animal models," Angela Poff, a research associate in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida, told U.S. News & World Report. "It's been done in various cancer types, but most of the work has been done in brain cancer specifically. But there's very little clinical data all around. There's some case reports and very small preliminary clinical studies in small groups of patients, usually very late-stage patients with various types of cancers. So in the clinical realm, which is the most important in telling us whether this is going to be useful, we have a long way to go."

A ketone body (KB) is a byproduct formed during the conversion of fatty acids to fuel. Some fatty acids are oxidized by the liver for energy production. Others can be partially oxidized to form the substrate acetoacetate, which is then converted to beta-hydroxybutyric acid; collectively, these are termed ketone bodies. Ketones can be used by all tissue containing mitochondria, which includes muscle and the brain.


Compared to other diets, the keto diet actually has positive effects on appetite control. A major reason that people tend to lose weight and reduce their risk for certain diseases on the KD is because ketosis causes a decreased appetite, thanks to lowering hunger hormones such as ghrelin. It does this even while not negatively affecting levels of leptin, another hormone that regulates appetite, food intake and body weight. Having adequate leptin levels signals to the body that its energy needs are being met and makes weight loss possible.

Nine healthy young males participated in this study, which appears in the journal Nutrients. The researchers asked them to follow a 7-day high fat, low-carbohydrate diet that was similar to the keto diet, consisting of 70 percent fat, 10 percent carbohydrates, and 20 percent protein. They also had to consume a 75-gram glucose drink before and after the diet.
Great article! Sustainability is key and Keto diet is extremely restrictive compared to others. Many of the comments I see don’t understand the importance of many years of research before stating something has a “significant difference” than the recommendations that are already in place. Also, understanding the pro/carb/fat balance in each meal instead of focusing on just carbohydrates. We have practiced the same modified Mediterranean diet at my practice where someone can enjoy life, eat complex carbohydrates and years later they are still successful and hundreds of pounds have been lost for good 🙂 Thank you for the reminder (and the comparison of Adkins supported research).
We have solid evidence showing that a ketogenic diet reduces seizures in children, sometimes as effectively as medication. Because of these neuroprotective effects, questions have been raised about the possible benefits for other brain disorders such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, sleep disorders, autism, and even brain cancer. However, there are no human studies to support recommending ketosis to treat these conditions.
Additionally, you may find it difficult to eat adequate calories on a daily basis because fat is so filling. Some people even opt to fast for several hours each day. While this may help with weight loss, your body needs those calories for proper maintenance. Without them, it may turn to burning muscle for energy, and that can accelerate muscle loss.
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